On p. 88, Tsion reads Joel 2:28-32, which in the Orthodox Study Bible (based on the Septuagint) is Joel 3:
I will pour out My Spirit on all flesh;
Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy,
Your old men shall dream dreams,
Your young men shall see visions.
And also on My menservants and on My maidservants I will pour out My Spirit in those days.
And I will show wonders in the heavens and in the earth: blood and fire and pillars of smoke.
The sun shall be turned into darkness,
And the moon into blood,
Before the coming of the great and awesome day of the LORD.
And it shall come to pass
That whoever calls on the name of the LORD
Shall be saved.
For in Mount Zion and in Jerusalem there shall be deliverance,
As the LORD has said,
Among the remnant whom the LORD calls. (NKJV)
Tsion, of course, relates this passage to the Tribulation, and “the great and awesome day of the Lord” to the Great Tribulation, which is the second half of the Tribulation. (That’s funny, I always thought Tribulation and Great Tribulation were interchangeable, unless you were referring to tribulations vs. the Great Tribulation.)
He believes the “remnant” refers to the Jews. And he says, “But I am claiming the promise of this passage, because God prompted me to find it, that our beloved will all return safely to us this time.”
Chloe says, “Is there anything in there that says when the phones will start working again?” Geez, not the phones again! 😛
Now, I see in the Orthodox Study Bible that–especially since Paul quoted this passage in Acts–the Orthodox Church sees this not just as referring to an incident in Israel’s past, but also to the coming of Christ and also to the End of All Things.
Orthodoxy will often interpret a prophetic passage as having more than one meaning, such as a specific historical event and a future end-of-times event as well. But that would mean that the “remnant” refers, historically, to the Jews, and futuristically to anyone of any race who calls on the name of the Lord.
But Tsion interprets so literally that he takes “in Mount Zion” to mean those who are physically in Mount Zion and Jerusalem will be delivered, even in the futuristic interpretation. This is like the characters’ insistence that the Antichrist would be killed by some sort of actual sword or saber, because that was the language used in the Bible, even though swords have been replaced by guns and car bombs in modern assassinations.
And I have trouble with him “claiming” a “promise” that this refers to their friends who are currently in danger, just because he happened upon the passage at this particular time. That’s using the Bible inappropriately as a fortune teller rather than as the revelation of God.
On page 102, we read that Chicago has been evacuated and bombed out, so it is now a ghost town. So–does this mean the traffic is no longer a bear and you can get through in less than an hour rather than three?
Some unintentional (as it often is) humor on page 103:
Some radical journalists, Buck Williams wanna-bes, averred on the Internet that the abandoning of Chicago was the biggest foul-up in history, that the deadly diseases were not a result of nuclear radiation, and that the place was inhabitable.
What? Buck Williams wanna-bes? Such an animal exists?
On page 131, we discover that Rayford wears contacts.
Contacts? The world is coming to an end, infrastructure is being destroyed by earthquakes and bombs and other things, it’s harder than heck to get to the pharmacy or an eye doctor when you’re in hiding, and Rayford wears contacts??
I used to wear contacts. You need lots of various solutions, which run out quickly and cost money, and they dry out your eyes, so eye drops are a must. If you don’t keep up with them, they get cloudy and dirty and your eyesight is put at risk.
How can anyone in Rayford’s situation keep up with contact maintenance? He should have ditched the contacts and started wearing his glasses full-time by now.
I’m not quite sure what to make of a certain comment by Rayford on page 182: Chloe calls him to ask what she needs to do in a certain situation while they’re running from the GC. Leah tells him to just tell her what to do because he’s back in charge.
Rayford says, “She’s a married adult, Leah, not my little girl anymore.” Which is true, though in this case he’s supposed to be the leader of the Tribulation Force, not just Chloe’s daddy.
But I’m concerned because, as the Slacktivist blogger has pointed out several times, these books have the earmarkings of a modern Fundamentalist/Evangelical courtship movement.
This movement keeps young women subordinate to their fathers until they marry, at which time the authority is given over to their husbands. So even a 40-year-old woman who’s never married and has no prospects could still be living with her parents and under her father’s authority.
So when Rayford refers to Chloe as a married adult–does he mean that she would still be “his little girl” if she were not married? I’m not sure, but it does seem plausible.
On page 186, Buck tells Chaim that if Chaim keeps waiting too long to become a Christian, ignores too many “warnings and signs,” that God will harden Chaim’s heart and not allow him to come to Him. According to Tsion, this is what the Bible says will happen during the End Times….
But we do not have a Scripture reference for this claim so we can test it, and since premillennialism and the Rapture are themselves not supported by Scripture, it seems to be a moot point whether or not someone can push God away too many times after the Rapture.
On page 211, while Rayford, Leah and Chloe are sitting in a dingy bar (not for the alcohol, of course, but as a meeting place), they discuss how to get to Chicago without looking suspicious. Rayford comes up with an idea; Leah says, “Good idea,” and Chloe says, “That’s what I thought.” Ooh, the two women are stroking Rayford’s ego–as if he needs more of that!
On page 225, Buck resumes his never-ending badgering of Chaim to make the transaction–er, to become a Christian. Chaim wonders if motive would make a difference to his potential salvation, saying that “if I were to do what you and Tsion have been pleading with me to do for so long, I confess it would be with the wrong motive.”
–Er, what motive is that? to get Buck off his back? Oh, nope, it’s that he feels selfish for getting saved so he won’t go to Hell.
On page 226, we are told that after the Antichrist is assassinated, he rises again, possessed by Satan. But a quick run through of Revelations 13 says nothing about Satan possessing the Antichrist’s body, but rather about the dragon (Satan) giving authority to the beast (Antichrist).
Also, since verse 10 says “he who kills with the sword must be killed with the sword,” and 14 refers to the beast who was wounded by the sword and lived, the Antichrist is supposed to be killed with a sword (see Assassins).
But the Orthodox Study Bible says it should be translated “he who is destined for the sword must be killed with the sword,” referring to persecuted Christians.
And Revelations is hardly meant to be literally understood in every jot and tittle. For example, the dragon and the beast are not literally a dragon and a seven-headed, ten-horned beast that rises out of the sea!
Rather, the Orthodox Study Bible explains how Nero was killed by a slit throat but his empire lived on, revived under Vespasian, while many believed Nero would rise again. Domitian, who was probably emperor when Revelations was written, was considered “Nero reincarnate” not literally, but because his cruelty was even worse than Nero’s.
This is the historical interpretation, so if you also see this passage as having a future interpretation, then if the historical interpretation is not literal, why does the future one have to be?
On page 243 we read that Michael the archangel (whom Tsion met during his astral projection) is “one of only two named angels in all of Scripture.”
But wait, that’s not right, there are at least three! Unless you count Lucifer and his fallen angels, besides Gabriel, there’s Raphael in Tobit. There are even more angels named if, like the Ethiopian Orthodox, you accept the Book of Enoch and 2 Esdras.
Oh, but wait, the Catholic Church is the “Whore of Babylon,” so any way it differs from Protestantism is Eeeeeevil.
Also, Tsion’s conversation with Michael is so stilted as to be unbelievable. I can more readily believe the angel using such speech patterns as, “Teach me all I am here to learn, great prince who stands watch over the sons of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob,” but Tsion?
He hasn’t talked like that all through these books, now all of a sudden he sounds like he’s reading some pre-written script for a B-movie. It just doesn’t sound natural for a modern man to talk like that.
On page 246, Lucifer confronts Michael, his voice turns high-pitched and whiny, his face becomes “a hideous mask of scales,” and he turns into a “slimy, writhing, coiling serpent. His eyes sank under deep hoods and his voice became a hiss, then a roar as he seemed to transform himself.” Oh my gosh–It’s Voldemort!
At long last, on p. 255, Buck’s badgering pays off: Chaim is saved and gets that little black cross on his forehead.
To be continued….